Okay, Pop Quiz Time! What do these three items have in common? Actually this was a trick question. Sorry, that wasn't fair at all. Unless you grew up with my kids in our house you probably wouldn't know the answer.
All three of these things were mis-prounounced by my children when they were very young. And all three things continued to be mis-prounced intentionally by me for far too long after the kids no longer did. And even today, when I see any of these things, in my head, I still hear one of my boys saying, "Yorgit, Drakleah and Hambinger". ( I no longer say the words wrong out loud. I have a little bit of self-control after all). But occasionally we all still get a giggle when we are together about those funny little family-centric words.
It's part of our history now. The lexicon of our family. Everyone has some of those words. For instance, when I was a kid, there were two words commonly spoken in my house that, as it turned out, nobody else I knew was familiar with. "Yowuns" and "Gawmy". I am actually not certain of the spelling since I've never seen them written down but that is how they sounded. They are probably ages old Mainer words since both my mother and her mother were born and raised in small Maine towns. In fact their entire family was umptyump generations back down east Mainers.
"Yowuns" meant kids. Plural. As in, "You Yowuns knock it off" hollered out the kitchen window when we were getting a little rowdy outside. When I was older and had stepped outside my family circle a bit more, I realized that nobody else I knew said "Yowuns" and I wondered about it's origin, the etymology of the word. Then one day, while reading a book that had parts written with an older Scots dialect, I ran across the word "wee'uns" meaning "wee ones" or little ones. Children! Aha! Perhaps "Yowuns" is actually "Yow'uns" or young ones. It makes as much sense as anything else.
The other word, "Gawmy" still mystifies me. It means clumsy or awkward and was usually either directed at me or was spoken about me. As in, "She is a gawmy child" said as I bounced off a doorframe before walking into a room. I was a "gawmy" child. Make no mistake about it. It wasn't an insult, it was a fact. But I have not a single clue where that word originated.
Another family-centric word in family is actually a phrase. And it came from my Nana. This one became so commonly well known not just within my family but also close friends and co-workers, that I didn't have to explain it anymore. The phrase is "Lars & Dwight".
My Nana had five surviving children. All of them married, all of them produced children who also produced children and so forth. Making it a very large group of people who loved her (she was very lovable) but didn't live close by. So they tended toward sending her gifts. And for whatever reason, they sent a lot of gifts baskets from the lovely company, "Harry & David". For reasons unknown to anyone in my family (I know because I asked around), Nana always referred to the Harry & David company as "Lars & Dwight". I might get a phone call telling me that so and so sent her the loveliest gift basket from Lars & Dwight today and did I want her to set aside the pears for me. I love pears and Nana was always thoughtful.
There was no point in correcting her and if we referred to the company by it's correct name, she had no idea what we were talking about so Lars & Dwight it was, always, by everyone in my house and to this day, if I get a catalog from them in the mail, even if it very clearly says, in large letters across the top of the front page, Harry & David, I still find myself telling Tim, "Hey the Lars & Dwight catalog came today" and bless his heart, he knows exactly what I mean.
I don't recall any stories being told of either Joy or I having any mis-pronounced childhood words though I have no doubt that we did. Personally, I have always had a little trouble speaking. As a kid I had both a lisp and a stutter. What a mess that was. Once in awhile, if I'm really tired, I still stutter a bit. Probably my worst mis-pronunciations are that I occasionally twist a word or two here or there.
By way of example: for some reason Alligator and Elevator get messed up and turned into Agulator and evalator. Tim doesn't even bother to correct me anymore. He knows what I meant. Sometimes I get stuck on shoulder/soldier. Saying one and meaning the other. And once in awhile I cannot think of the word I mean to say at all. I can describe it. I can define it. I can draw pictures of it in the air with my hands. I even know what letter of the alphabet it begins with I just cannot think of the doggone word! And by the way, this whole problem began many many years ago. The first incident I remember with absolute certainty was in middle school when I could not for the life of me think of the word, "clock-radio".
I mentioned it once to a doctor friend of mine. I was concerned about really early onset dementia (I mean REALLLLY early) and she laughed and reassured me, after asking me several questions that it's just the way my brain is wired. A kind of aphasia. And not at all uncommon. Whew! That's a relief.
And it also explains why I absolutely STINK at Scrabble.
I know, I know, I consider myself to be a writer. I read voraciously. My vocabulary is at least average. I am reasonably well educated. Anyone would think that I would be a rock-star at Scrabble. I am not. I am easily the worst Scrabble player in the family. On the block. In my town. Possibly in the state.
When those little tiles are placed in front of me with random letters, my brain wanders off. It will take one or two of the letters and then be determined to spell something that I do not have the rest of the letters for. And despite my best efforts, it refuses to consider any other word. Let's say the letters in front of me are Q, A, R, G, L. My brain immediately went to Quart. I don't have a T nor do I have a U. But my brain is stuck now on the word Quart and stubbornly will not move on. It's Quart or nothing. Like I said, I am the absolute worst at Scrabble.
It's not like it comes up a lot in my life. Nobody foolishly signed me up for the Scrabble world championship or anything. Thank goodness. I am pretty sure that there are points off for Drakleah or Yorgit anyway.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.